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“It was a long hard road”: a longitudinal perspective on discourses of commemoration in Austria

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/09/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>10plus1: Living Linguistics
Issue number3
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)22-41
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper examines recent Austrian co-mmemorative discourse about World War 2, the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes on the official political level (speeches) as well as in the media (reportage). In a discourse-historical framework, it traces discursive strategies employed in the construction and transformation of national identities since 1945, focusing in particular on the roles of perpetrators, victims and bystan-ders in the context of increasingly trans-national commemoration and a resur-gence of nationalisms. This longitudinal perspective, with detailed case studies contrasting 2005 with 2015, indicates notable changes from generalised and collectivised representations of perpetra-tors and victims to a critical engagement with Austria’s responsibility and past failure to acknowledge that responsibility. Moreover, the media in 2015 covered war crimes, especially final phase crimes, and presented biographies of perpetrators and victims, revealing political continuities in post-war Austria.